I’m Gettin’ Really Torqued!
For those of you who have
been living in a cave for most of your lives, you can translate the “torqued”
in the heading of this article to “mad” or “angry”. Actually, I was going to use a more
descriptive word (which everyone understands) but I thought it would look tacky
in bold print. I’d hate to tarnish my
image, ya know.
However for today’s
discussion of anger, let’s quantify the intensity of our focus with the words
The first question is “What
makes you really angry (as in
people? Bad drivers? Lousy service? Brainless bosses? Dumb subordinates? Idiot lawyers? Answering machines? The government? Waiting in line? Foreigners?
Big business? Potholes? Traffic jams?
Airports? The news?
TV programming? Your significant
other? Your kids? Your neighbors? Uncle Harold?
Aunt Edna? The stupid dog? The dumb car? The danged washing machine? Your lost keys? The toilet? The pillow? Your socks?
Wanna know what makes me
really, really mad?
Hmmm, OK – how about what sometimes
makes me upset and sort of irritated?
That would be me.
Me. Just me.
I’m the one who “makes” me upset and sort of irritated once in a
while. I’m the only one who can “make” me do
that. No one else, no event, no
situation can make me get mad. Our anger
doesn’t come from the outside. It
can’t. It’s strictly an internal emotion
that surges – and sometimes even erupts – as the result of our perception and
feelings about an “outside” situation.
From the way it looks, we
humans are probably designed and assembled with the brain wiring and foundation
programming it takes to feel and express anger.
How did we learn how to be
angry? From our exposure to anger around
our humble abode and in the rest of our environment in our early years, we
learned that getting hacked off is just what we humans do when we’re not
pleased with a given situation. We
learned that it’s OK – and sometimes even expected – that we make a yucky face,
clench our fists, stomp our feet, beat on the table and scream obscenities at
the top of our lungs (another strange expression that I suppose is not to be
confused with using the middle or lower part of our lungs…our language is
weird…). We learned – and duly
programmed our subconscious – to react to the displeasing events in our lives
with the appropriate (or for us personally – applicable) level and intensity of
Guess what? It doesn’t need to be like that. We all have the ability to reprogram our
little minds to respond to the displeasing events in our lives in a less
stressful and much quieter manner. No,
it’s not necessarily easy to do, however once we recognize and admit that our mega-anger
is not something that is just normally a part of human nature – and that we do have the ability to consciously
control it – we have completed a huge step in the right direction. Becoming hacked off is an automatic decision our
minds make for us. Not becoming angry
then, must be a conscious decision we make that will override our automatic
You might try this. The next time you feel the anger starting to
surge, take just a couple of seconds – or a few minutes or longer - to realize
what is happening, think briefly about the event or person who is triggering
the anger, then decide if you really want to let your subconscious continue on
it’s programmed path – or if you want to consciously step in and modify this
effort. Anger toward a person or
situation can be expressed assertively – not aggressively - at a reasonable
volume while being respectful of the rights and opinions of others. This can
lead to open communications and a resolution of the problem. Will it?
Who the hell knows but it’s worth a shot. Sure beats the snot out of knocking
somebody’s skull in.
In the cooling-off period,
you might just discover that the situation was not nearly as critical as you
had first imagined. Perhaps someone
(maybe you?) didn’t have all the facts and the conflict was the just result of
a misunderstanding. Maybe once you stand
back and see the circumstances from a slightly different perspective, you might
decide the whole thing was pretty silly to start with and there is nothing
really worth pursuing. Or, you may even admit that entire situation
was completely out of your control (influence) so getting angry is just a
futile waste of energy.
Probably the worst thing
anyone could do is suppress the anger. To
tuck it away deep down inside. This
could lead to major problems later either in a potential catastrophic
confrontation, in a “torpedoing” of the other person – or in an eating away of
your mental/emotional stability or deterioration of your physical being. Not a good thing to have happen.
Anger toward an object (car,
refrigerator, keys) is pretty much a waste of effort and energy. It’s likely a situation (danged car broke and I
don’t have the coins to fix it) or ourselves (I don’t know how to fix the danged
car) that we’re angry at. Stuff happens
– and sometimes we even help it happen by ignoring signals that sooner or later
we’ll need to do something to take care of an impending problem. So now it’s “later” – and we need to fix
Anger, at a considerably lower
intensity than downright
Life’s too short to for us
to eat up a bunch of time being angry.
Why don’t we all just get
a super-duper triple sized
banana split instead?
Just a thought…
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